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by Indiewire
April 28, 1998 2:00 AM
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Sundance Channel Coming to New York City on Sundays

by Eugene Hernandez




On the heels of its recent launch in Los Angeles, the Sundance
Channel
has gained limited carriage in Manhattan through a
special arrangement with Time Warner Cable of New York City.
Robert Redford and Time Warner Cable of New York City President
Barry Rosenblum met the press yesterday afternoon at the Regency
Hotel in Manhattan to announce the deal. The channel will be available
on Sundays in Manhattan for an additional fee, beginning in June.


The move comes a few months after the channel's rival, The
Independent Film Channel, debuted on Time Warner Cable as part
of a subscription-based tier of new channels in New York City.
All of Time Warner's nearly 500,000 customers will be eligible
to buy a Sunday of the Sundance Channel for either a daily ($1.95),
monthly ($4.95) or annual ($29.95) rate. The service will debut
with a special free preview on June 7th. When asked if Time Warner
Cable would offer this arrangement to other pay channels,
Rosenblum stated, "I think there's a certain uniqueness to the
product we're talking about today, and its not likely that we
would offer something like this to a more broad-based service."


Sundance executives characterized the deal as the latest in a
series of developments that have created momentum for the
Channel, following the pre-Festival announcement of a new
leadership team (Nickeodeon's Tom Harbeck and Fine Line's Liz
Manne), the recent broader deal with Time Warner Cable, and the
debut on Century Cable in Los Angeles on April 1st. Explaining
the Sundance Channel mission to the media, Harbeck underscored
what has become the clear message for the Channel's programming
concept, "One of the promises of the brand is that if you don't see it
here, you might not see it at all." Seeking to distinguish his Channel
from the IFC, Redford echoed Sundance's focus on premiere work
and categorized the Independent Film Channel as "essentially a
library service." Clarifying the differences, Barry Rosenblum
said that the Sundance Channel is differentiated by "product
that perhaps hasn't been seen before," but commented that "the
IFC is perhaps a little bit more broader-based, with some more
library titles."


As indicated by Redford, Sundance executives are clearly hoping
that Sundance Channel Sundays plan will ultimately lead to a
full time Manhattan run for the network. "Obviously Sundance
would like to be here, as we are in other citites, seven days a
week, 24 hours a day," he explained, but clarified that he
understood the "complex" cable landscape in New York City made
that difficult. In a conversation with indieWIRE following the
conference, Rosenblum confirmed that indeed Time Warner's
New York City system is "channel-locked" until digital technology
allows for greater capacity, but insisted that there is no
time-frame on the Sundance arrangement and confirmed that
the extent of the Channel's carriage would be determined by
"constant evaluation" of viewer response.

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